Rituals: The Benefits of Bathing

 

In many exisitng alzheimer institutions residents often take no more than one shower a week.  The frequency in itself is troubling.  However, what is more peculiar was the lack of any bathing practice.  There are many benefits to bathing.  It Increase blood circulation, and assist in in relaxing tense muscles.  It aids in quick recovery from fatigue & injury.  Especially for elderly, where bio rhythms often changes, soaking in hot water for 15 min. (approx. 90 min. before going to bed) is an effective way to naturally encourage and induce the body to sleep. Bathing in warm water will relieve stress due to the release of endorphins (which relieves tension and create a natural high).  Bathing habits can greatly contribute to long term strategies for well-being.  I speculated 4 common reasons for the lack of bathing practice in alzheimer instituions.

 

1.  Most nursing homes give shower not baths (cost too much time and money)

2. The feel of the bathrooms are too clinical in nature

3. Often institutional bathrooms do not deliver a pleasurable experience

4. Often the design does not take the caretaker’s ergonomics into account.

 

Taking account of future projections with the lack of labor force and money in our future healthcare system, the focus for this design will be to consider a bathroom facility in a group home that would engage the residents in a pleasurable bathing experiece, enough to incite a daily bathing ritual.  The facility will take on merging qualities of a car wash system, sneuzzle space and relaxed spa.  Automation assistance can be of great use to time management and privacy issues.  Bathing can be seen as not only a cleansing ritutal but a social activity.